Jackson County voters pass 2 percent hotel-motel tax - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson County voters pass 2 percent hotel-motel tax

Unofficial results show 71 percent of voters voted for a 2% hotel motel tax increase in Jackson County. (Photo Source: WLOX) Unofficial results show 71 percent of voters voted for a 2% hotel motel tax increase in Jackson County. (Photo Source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - If you stay in a hotel or motel in Jackson County, you will soon see an extra tax added to your bill to help promote tourism. Voters headed to the polls Tuesday to help pass a two percent occupancy tax on the more than 2,400 rooms across the county. 

Unofficial results show 71 percent of voters are on board with the tax hike. 28.9 percent of voters were not. That equates to 2,650 votes for and 1,077 votes against the measure.

"Elections are always a little difficult, but we always felt that this is what Jackson County wanted," said Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitor's Bureau Executive Director Renee Areng.

The new tax is expected to generate $700,000 a year. The money will go to the Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitor's Bureau for promoting and marketing South Mississippi as a fun destination spot.

"I believe in it. I live it every day," said OneCoast for Jackson County chairwoman Donna Brown. "I have been in tourism all my life, and here in Jackson County we have so much to offer and we want to be one coast, the Mississippi Gulf Coast."

Areng agrees that Jackson County jumping on the tourism bandwagon is a move in the right direction.

“The traveler does not see boundaries, they want the experiences. Jackson County has probably the most personal experience it can offer for a traveler to come to the coast and we want to be able to share that,” said Areng.

The vote also allows Jackson County to keep its three members on a special tourism team created to help the CVB accomplish its goals.

"I am one third of the three representatives that represent Jackson County, and it was so important that we kept our seat with this board,"said local business owner Richard Chenoweth. "As people travel everywhere they pay the taxes and it is time we make it a level playing field."

Although that the measure has passed, CVB officials said there is still work to do.

"We do have an operating agreement. We will be negotiating in the next week or so and the goal is to have tax being assessed on October 1st, so it gives the hotels an opportunity to get their procedures in place," said Areng.

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